Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians:
The Scrivener’s Bones
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Alcatraz #2
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Starscape (Tor Books)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Middle Grade
Review Spoilers: Low
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Picking up shortly after the first book in the Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians series ended, The Scrivener’s Bones basically takes everything great about its predecessor and some how makes it even better. This is a trend in this series and a very welcome one. If there was something that you didn’t quite like in one book then the next one down the line seems to make it all right.
I had a bit of hard time getting into Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians but I devoured The Scrivener’s Bones in just one day. A big part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much more is that it takes the whole story a step further than the first book did. The first one is an okay introduction but The Scivener’s Bones is a real action-packed thrill ride that takes you out of our world – a world that you only just start to see differently in Alcatraz Versus the Evil Libarians – and thrusts you full into the Free Kingdoms.
Okay, so, maybe we don’t really see the Free Kingdoms yet.
In The Scrivener’s Bones we see Alcatraz team up with some more of his family members to rescue Grandpa Smedry who has gone looking for Alcatraz’s father, Attica Smedry. Using his abilities Alcatraz realizes that their grandfather is in danger and so he, his cousin Australia (Sing Sing’s sister), and his uncle Kazan rush off to the not-so-lost Library of Alexandria. The journey there is almost as exciting as the dangers and adventure that await them all deep inside the enigmatic library.
I loved being introduced to new members of the Smedry family and getting to know their remarkable – and silly – talents. Australia, for example, has the ability to wake up in the morning looking incredibly ugly. Meanwhile Kazan has the ability to get himself lost which actually comes in handy as the group’s guide. We also get to meet Bastille’s mother – though she’s not nearly as warm and fuzzy as the Smedry clan.
We actually get to learn a lot more about Alcatraz and Bastille – and the other characters – in this book than I felt we did in the first one. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians may have set the stage but The Scrivener’s Bones really starts to flesh out the characters, their personalities, and their relationships with one another. I mean, it’s hard for us not to have a close connection with Alcatraz. As our narrator we get a front row seat into just how he’s thinking and how random his thoughts can be. But the cast of characters is so strong in this book and the stakes are so much higher that everything just feels more real.
Speaking of Alcatraz and his chaotic narration, I have to say I really loved it in this book. In Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians it took some getting used to before I accepted his constant wise-cracking, bad jokes, and incredibly random tangents. Maybe they are better written this time around or maybe I’m just used to them but I really enjoyed them. In particular, I loved Alcatraz’s misdirect on what happens at the end of the book. A running gag in the series is fake last pages meant to dupe people who read ahead to the end. This one was excellent – complete with illustration!
All in all, this is a really entertaining book and perfect follow up to the first installment.
The Scrivener’s Bones gives us a great adventure, a new cast of fun characters, and our first real look at just how crazy this new world – Alcatraz’s real world – can be. If the rest of the books in the series are this entertaining then I doubt any of us will be disappointed. Yes, it’s a middle grade book. And yes I’m a grown adult. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun. If you can look past the obvious juvenile humor and target audience you’ll most likely enjoy this series as I have so far.